- Associated Press - Monday, October 23, 2017

LISLE, Ill. (AP) - A 43-year-old man previously accused of attempting to cash forged checks belonging to a suburban Chicago woman who died in 1994 has been charged with murder.

Thomas Spears of Peoria was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the death of 71-year-old Illa Venard. The 43-year-old Spears is being held in lieu of $3 million bail in DuPage County Jail.

Venard’s body was found in her Lisle condominium in August 1994. Police at the time said they believed she had been dead for several days before her son found her.

An autopsy was inconclusive, but police said at the time they didn’t believe she died of natural causes.

Spears was charged with murder on the day he was scheduled to appear in court in the forgery case dating to Aug. 1, 1994. Spears allegedly attempted to cash a series of checks from Venard’s bank account.

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